He fits into my rollerblades now. It’s true that this actually happens. A moment comes when an eight-year-old kid zips off in his mama’s grownup skates. Then the moment goes racing off along with him.
Given the origin of these blades, it’s disingenuous to say I’m giving up my claim. The title was hardly mine. I swiped them from my own mother a decade ago, so it’s fitting (pun intended) that my kid wears them now. We’ve just transferred custody. No doubt this is a temporary arrangement until my kiddo outgrows them.
Which he will.
Because he’s eight, and he’s the tallest boy on his basketball team. He towers over every kid in second grade at his overpopulated suburban school. Around here, “outgrow” is a verb on par with “breathe.” This year alone, he’s done away with his booster seat, basketball shoes, an entire fall and spring wardrobe, all his swimsuits, and every pair of underwear and socks. He’s also outgrown half the pop songs he used to love along with any interest in legos, Pokemon, picture books, lullabies, and G-movies.
One thing he hasn’t left behind? His lust for speed.
As a toddler, we parked him in a spring-loaded Johnny-Jump-Up hanging from his bedroom door. As soon as those feet launched, his eyes went wild and his squeal cracked glass. He bruised his 18-month-old shins on the doorjamb and roared even louder. We put up pillows. He kicked them away.
He hasn’t touched down yet.
The scooter I gave him when he turned four still bangs its way around our living room and out along the busted sidewalks on the way to the park. His skateboard travels with us to the playground. His bike is a required conveyance for grabbing a mint-chococalte-chip cone from the Italian restaurant up the street.
And the rollerblades?
As soon as we’re in the door, he kicks off his sneakers and shoves on those wheels. He rides all over the neighborhood, his big helmet encasing his most precious parts. Just two weeks ago, he was wobbling along, stepping through grass to keep from actually gaining speed. Now he aims for the hills and finds his center as he goes. He has two skinned knees, a bruised rump, and scuffed palms, but he bounces up now. I watched him today as a wheel caught a crack in the sidewalk. He whipped a 180 with his arms pinwheeling. Catching himself on two hands, he lowered himself into a sort of 4-point squat and pushed up to standing. Then off he zipped, brushing away dirt and picking up speed.
My boy has yet to break a bone. I figure it’s a when rather than an if. It’s really okay if he falls (I tell myself). I know the shortcut to the ER. The last time I claimed those rollerblades as my own, I passed the better part of the evening with the residents there wrapping my wrist in a cast.
As it is, the mantle of Speed Demon conveys with the skates.
It’s all his.
I’ll stand on the sidelines with the car keys and ice.